Publications (3)11.66 Total impact
Article: Mimotopes of the hepatitis C virus hypervariable region 1, but not the natural sequences, induce cross‐reactive antibody response by genetic immunization[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the putative envelope protein E2 of hepatitis C virus (HCV) contains a principal neutralization epitope, and anti-HVR1 antibodies have been shown to possess protective activity in ex vivo neutralization experiments. However, the high rate of variability of this antigenic fragment may play a major role in the mechanism of escape from host immune response and might represent a major obstacle to developing an HCV vaccine. Thus, even if direct experimental evidence of the neutralizing potential of anti-HVR1 antibodies by active immunization is still missing, the generation of a vaccine candidate with a cross-reactive potential would be highly desirable. To overcome the problem of HVR1 variability, we have engineered cross-reactive HVR1 peptide mimics (mimotopes) at the N terminus of the E2 ectodomain in plasmid vectors suitable for genetic immunization. High levels of secreted and biologically active mimotope/E2 chimeras were obtained by transient transfection of these plasmids in cultured cells. All plasmids elicited anti-HVR1 antibodies in mice and rabbits with some of them leading to a cross-reacting response against many HVR1 variants from natural isolates. Epitope mapping revealed a pattern of reactivity similar to that induced by HCV infection. In contrast, plasmids encoding naturally occurring HVR1 sequences displayed either on full-length E2 in the context of the whole HCV structural region, or on a soluble, secreted E2 ectodomain, did not induce a cross-reacting anti-HVR1 response.Hepatology 02/2001; 33(3):692 - 703. · 11.66 Impact Factor
Article: Enhancing B- and T-Cell Immune Response to a Hepatitis C Virus E2 DNA Vaccine by Intramuscular Electrical Gene Transfer[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We describe an improved genetic immunization strategy for eliciting a full spectrum of anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope 2 (E2) glycoprotein responses in mammals through electrical gene transfer (EGT) of plasmid DNA into muscle fibers. Intramuscular injection of a plasmid encoding a cross-reactive hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) peptide mimic fused at the N terminus of the E2 ectodomain, followed by electrical stimulation treatment in the form of high-frequency, low-voltage electric pulses, induced more than 10-fold-higher expression levels in the transfected mouse tissue. As a result of this substantial increment of in vivo antigen production, the humoral response induced in mice, rats, and rabbits ranged from 10- to 30-fold higher than that induced by conventional naked DNA immunization. Consequently, immune sera from EGT-treated mice displayed a broader cross-reactivity against HVR1 variants from natural isolates than sera from injected animals that were not subjected to electrical stimulation. Cellular response against E2 epitopes specific for helper and cytotoxic T cells was significantly improved by EGT. The EGT-mediated enhancement of humoral and cellular immunity is antigen independent, since comparable increases in antibody response against ciliary neurotrophic factor or in specific anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag CD8+ T cells were obtained in rats and mice. Thus, the method described potentially provides a safe, low-cost treatment that may be scaled up to humans and may hold the key for future development of prophylactic or therapeutic vaccines against HCV and other infectious diseases.
Article: Towards a solution for hepatitis C virus hypervariability: mimotopes of the hypervariable region 1 can induce antibodies cross-reacting with a large number of viral variants